7 Things You Should Know Before Getting Backyard Chickens

Backyard chickens allowed to free range

We’ve been the proud owners of backyard chickens for 2 ½ years now.  Although we don’t know it all, we have learned a few unexpected things about this venture.  If you are debating about buying some peeps and taking the plunge, here’s what to know about backyard chickens.  A few helpful tips that may help you make your decision.

There’s definitely many benefits to owning these enjoyable and funny birds, and we are still very happy with ours.  However, there are both good and bad aspects to having them roam your backyard.

Backyard chicken caretaking wearing prAna Penelope Pullover and Uptown Pant

Find a shady place to keep fresh water handy for your backyard chickens.

# 1 – They Will Trash Your Yard

First up for what to know about backyard chickens:  Let’s talk about that backyard.  Prepare yourself, cause the girls are gonna trash it.

Sure, you could keep your backyard chickens in their coop at all times.  It would certainly be tidier.  But in order to get the full benefit of those extra-nutrient rich, free range eggs – you gotta let the girls out.

Backyard chickens dig holes in yard

What used to be our lawn.

The upside is that they have so much fun around the yard.  They’ll reduce the number of spiders and crawly things that make their way into your basement.  And it’s a kick to watch their antics throughout the day.

The downside is, they will trash your yard.

Scratch, scratch, scratch.  Busy, busy, busy.

Backyard chickens scatter landscaping rocks

The girls’ handiwork.

Favorite past times include digging holes in order to take a nice dirt bath, and scattering landscaping rocks outside the borders.

Amusing.  But naughty.

And don’t even get me started on the poop.

Backyard chicken taking a dirt bath

Aaahhhh… Tink loves getting her dirt bath swerve on.

# 2 – Your Kids May Stop Eating Chicken

I have a first grader son, with an affinity for birds.  He has definitely made the connection between the named and beloved chickens in our backyard…. And eating chicken for dinner.  And he’s having nothing of it.

It’s not that he doesn’t like the taste of chicken.  He will tell you very plainly, “I don’t eat chickens”.

Backyard chickens take a toll on the yard

Could you eat Tink or Bambi? Not gonna happen.

Apparently he’s the only one in the house with a conscious, when it comes to eating animals.  But just be aware this may have an effect your children, and how willing they are to partake of this healthy protein.

# 3 – Be Prepared to Get Attached

Baby Peeps Playing Outside

Our peeps shortly after we got them.

Is there anything cuter than a fuzzy peep?!  Adorable and cuddly, our peeps simply begged to be named.  Which, you know… makes them a pet.

When we first brought our baby peeps home, we used to wrap them in Kleenex and bring them inside to hold and pet them.  Each family member had selected their own baby chick.  So it stood to reason that we each got to select a carefully crafted chicken name.

As you may know, the Disney blood runs strong in our house.  We ended up with Peaches, Paris, Clementine, Tink, Bambi, and Flynn Ryder.

We love them.

# 4 – Chickens are a Hoot to Watch

My cousins are ranchers, and I grew up seeing their yard full of chickens during our visits.  Other than a slight fear, based on being told to gather eggs under a sitting, broody hen… I had never had an affectionate thought about a chicken.

But now I’ve owned 6 (named) chickens of my own, for a couple of years.  Dubbed “Chicken TV”, it is surprisingly entertaining and relaxing to just sit back and watch their antics.  They really do have funny personalities.  Ours are quite social, and often join me on the back deck in the morning for coffee.

Backyard chickens can be social and friendly

Bambi joins me for a morning espresso.

# 5 – They Will Die (Eventually)

That’s right, people.  We officially have a chicken graveyard.

If you have soft hearted children who will cry for three days, and beg their dad to bury a 9 pound bird in the yard (based on a true story)… you may wish to have this conversation with them up front.

When we lost Peaches, my tween daughter insisted on a burial.  He didn’t want to, but eventually my husband complied.  So now there’s a chicken graveyard along the right side of our house.  The proceedings were followed by going inside for a dinner of chicken fajitas.  Oh, the irony.

# 6 – They Don’t Lay Eggs During Their Entire Lives

Backyard chickens egg stash in the yard

Aren’t they gorgeous? Bambi is our one blue egg layer.

This is a dilemma I’m not looking forward to.

I’ve read that the egg laying period of a hen’s life is around 5-7 years or so.  But they will continue to live longer than that.

Now a normal farmer-type person would go ahead eat the chicken at that point.  Come this stage in life, the chickens are just eating, and not pulling their weight.

Plus, if you are in an urban environment, a city code likely dictates the total number of chickens you can have (in our case, it’s 6).  So then you are also faced with not being able to bring home a new batch of egg layers.

Yeah, I don’t have a solution for this.  It’s just a bad thing I see looming in our future.

# 7 – You Can Build a Nicer Coop

Backyard chicken coop and owner wearing prAna Penelope Pullover and Uptown Pant

Checking for eggs. Notice my cute new prAna outfit for Fall – the Penelope Pullover and Uptown Pant… super comfortable!

This one is just a logistical tip, because I really love the chicken coop my husband ended up building.

If someone in your house has the skills, you can build a much nicer and sturdier chicken coop for the same cost at the pre-fab ones.  Plus then you can design it yourself, with your favorite features.  I’m glad we went this route, as ours is much more stable than the options I’ve seen at the local farm store.

Backyard chickens being such a trend, I’m sure we could sell our coop if we ever get out of the biz.

Every Little Bit Helps for a Healthy Life & Planet

Backyard chicken owner wearing prAna Penelope Pullover and Uptown Pant

Me and Flynn Ryder hanging out… this is the new for Fall, organic cotton prAna Penelope Pullover.

Overall, I highly recommend this experience, if you’ve got the circumstances to own backyard chickens.  With our sketchy chemical and hormone ridden food sources these days, it’s nice to be able to control and source some of your own food.  I love heading to my backyard and grabbing some fresh eggs to cook with!  It’s totally been worth it for my family, and I hope this glimpse at what to know about backyard chickens was helpful to you.

As for the cute Fall prAna duds, this is a great brand to check out for responsible production of clothing.  They use earth friendly materials such as organic cotton, and partner with factories who adhere to strict guidelines to make sure workers are treated fairly.  I personally own and wear lots of prAna, as I love its comfort and versatility for an active mountain-style life.  If you’d like to try some out, here’s a prAna discount code you can use: MHMTM15  Good for 15% off your purchase.

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By the way, prAna provided me this outfit to sample.  All opinions (about chickens and clothing) are my own.

7 Things to Know About Backyard Chickens before your family takes the plunge! Tips for beginners on best coops, ideas on raising these funny and enjoyable birds, and preparing your family for the facts and reality of owning them. The eggs aren't the only benefit!

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About COMtnMom

Hi, I'm Tami! Writer, Influencer, and mom of two who loves enjoying the outdoors, staying active, travel, photography, reading books, and eating desserts. We are pretty much always planning our next trip to Disney World...

Comments

  1. Such a coincidence that I read this today, as last week I went to a friend’s house and she showed me her backyard chickens. I got to thinking “I wonder what that would be like” — and here you are telling me all the important points!

    Bambi’s eggs sure are pretty.

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